Marinating the chicken for at least 3-4 hours is ideal but even 30 minutes is better than nothing. Don’t think that you need a degree in butchery to prepare the chicken. To spatchcock a chicken simply means removing the backbone and flattening it out. It is a technique especially suited to barbecuing and grilling poultry but just as good when roasted in the oven. If you have a large pair of sharp scissors or perhaps some poultry shears it will take about 5 minutes to prepare the chook. As you may imagine the chicken is absolutely delicious cold and any leftovers make a tasty filling for sandwiches and wraps.
- For the marinade
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- ½ tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 25g root ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1 small bunch spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander
- 2 tablespoons tamarind paste
- 400ml natural yogurt
- For the chicken
- 1 large chicken, preferably organic, free-range
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
- Place the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and turmeric in a small frying pan and dry fry for about 1 minute. Tip into a spice grinder or mortar and grind to a fine powder. Spoon into a mixing bowl and add the remaining marinade ingredients. Stir until smooth.
- To prepare the chicken, place on a board breast-side down with the legs nearest you. Cut down each side of the back bone with scissors or poultry shears and remove. Turn the chicken over and press down on the breasts with the palm of your hand to flatten the bird. Place in a large flat dish and spoon over the marinade. Make sure all the chicken is covered with the paste. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
- About 45 minutes before you start cooking bring the chicken out of the fridge and leave at room temperature. Heat the oven to 200˚c, fan oven 180˚c, mark 6. Place the chicken in an ovenproof dish and spoon over all the marinade. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Cook for about 1 hour 15 minutes or until the juices run clear after inserting a skewer into the thigh. Cover with foil if the chicken is browning too much.Leave for 5-10 minutes to rest then scatter over the chilli and coriander before serving. I find it easier to serve the chicken in portions rather than trying to carve it.